US reach $695,000 settlement with Furuno USA in dispute over navigation equipment
WASHINGTON D.C. (BNO NEWS) – The U.S. Department of Justice and Furuno USA Inc. reached on Thursday a $695,063 settlement in a “qui tam” lawsuit, over the purchase of electronic navigation equipment, prosecutors said.
The navigation equipment was manufactured in China and purchased by the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and the General Services Administration. A private party alerted the U.S. that the equipment was Chinese. Under the Trade Agreements Act the navigation equipment at issue should not have been manufactured in China.
In 2007, a qui tam lawsuit said that Furuno provided electronic equipment to the U.S. in violation of the Trade Agreements Act. The qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, allow citizens to file lawsuits on behalf of the U.S. alleging fraud against the government in connection with the it’s procurement activities and/or the operation of government programs.
A government investigation was launched and revealed that even after Furuno had been notified by the government that the equipment could not be manufactured in China, the company continued to supply equipment from its newly opened Chinese facility.
In addition to the $695,063 settlement, Furuno will pay $95,000 in attorney fees and costs for the private party who filed the case. Also, $159,864 from the settlement amount will be paid to the private party.
The case was reviewed by the Affirmative Civil Enforcement (ACE) Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. All qui tam filings are handled by ACE which also works aggressively to combat fraud against the U.S. government. During the last three years, ACE has recovered over $18.3 million.
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